How to Choose the Right TEFL Course

So you want to teach English as a foreign language?

Maybe you, like me, have grown disillusioned with the job market in your home country.  Naturally, it’s nothing to do with your unemployability (not a real word) but more a consequence of the dire state of world economies leaving you starring into a benefit abyss.  That’s my excuse for numerous unsuccessful attempts at finding a job – I’m sticking to it!

You should know that teaching English is as recession proof as a politician’s pension plan.  At this time of developing nations seeking economic growth, there is worldwide recognition that a skilled workforce, ability to speak coherent English, is important to the future of developing economies.  Understandable when you consider that English is the most used language around the world.

Choosing your TEFL course is a daunting decision because it seems that the qualification is offered by so many.  A quick Google Search brings up endless pages of companies offering you the ‘best and most comprehensive TEFL course’.   Let me tell you how I tackled booking the right TEFL course for myself; so you can decide which TEFL course to do, based on your needs.

Someone’s lying!

I came awkwardly close to paying £1,000 for a CELTA course and by-jove I’m pleased I avoided that bank charge due to insufficient funds.  Not because CELTA is a bad course, on the contrary, it’s much more in-depth than your usual TEFL course, but it costs an additional £600+ and may be wildly unnecessary.  Whatever your TEFL plans, I would recommend completing a comprehensive TEFL course for a fraction of the fee instead.

Perhaps you’re looking at TEFL as a long-term career option.  Even then, completing a TEFL course would be beneficial to trial out teaching first.  You can undoubtedly get your first teaching job with a TEFL qualification and if you need a CELTA qualification for future career growth, you can acquire one of those bad boys around the world at a future date. But wouldn’t you feel like a silly sausage if you spent £1000 on a CELTA qualification only to realise two months later that teaching isn’t really your thing?

Some companies offer TEFL qualification after just two or three days of training for a minimal fee.  I took the belief that a credible teaching qualification wouldn’t be as easy as two days work, as intensive as it maybe.  If I were an employer looking at TEFL CV’s, prospective employees with only 2 days experience would be in my personal ‘probably not’ folder, alongside pictures of Z list celebrities akin to Kerry Katona and Jodie Marsh (too harsh? Sorry).

So whilst I’d narrowed the search to a course longer than two days but under £1000, I was still left with a bucket load of companies kindly offering to take my money.

Booking the right TEFL course

Lucky for me, i-to-i’s 140 hour TEFL course was recommended to me by a friend’s girlfriend. She currently has a yearlong TEFL contract in South Korea after graduating from the course.  After waiting patiently for a tax rebate to be reluctantly awarded back to me, I purchased my i-to-i TEFL course.

Completing it mostly online allowed me to complete it at my own pace and leisure – maybe a little too much leisure!  It is i-to-i’s most comprehensive course and contained everything I expect to need for my upcoming adventure, and it prepared me and made me readily able to teach with plenty of new and fun learning activities and games for my future students.  Guidance has been acutely available at all stages from online tutors to the TEFL team in Leeds via social networks.  i-to-i’s TEFL Chalkboard offers a network of other TEFLers going through similar experiences to yourself and I’ve even managed to hunt down (in a non-weird way) two TEFLers heading out to Buenos Aires (cultured) at a similar time to me.

Of course, I’m certain that there are other TEFL courses that offer excellent service and a credible qualification, but from my experience take a look at those offered by i-to-i.  I’m writing for i-to-i but you can be assured that this is no Harry Redknapp scandal; no money has been wired to a foreign bank account to avoid tax under the name of my dog in return for a favourable blog entry.  I don’t even have a dog.

I will keep you wannabe first-time TEFLers up-to-date with my progress, including my hunt for a job and that scary moment that I’m allowed to teach my first ever class.


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